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24 July, 2006 - 18:45 By Staff Reporter

New arrival: Get knotted, weeds!

An interesting crop of new arrivals at the world-famous Cambridge Science Park is headed by a small company developing new, environmentally-friendly ways of 'managing vegetation' - or in layman's terms killing weeds.An interesting crop of new arrivals at the world-famous Cambridge Science Park is headed by a small company developing new, environmentally-friendly ways of 'managing vegetation' - or in layman's terms killing weeds.

Thurlow Countryside Management (tcm) joins Blue Tree Systems, Serentis and Prime Meridian Communications at the Park's innovation centre.

tcm, which provides science based conservation solutions to the road rail and construction industries, has established its R&D headquarters in Cambridge.

The prime focus of the operation's activities will be getting to the root of a particularly 'knotty' problem, according to tcm's MD, Howard Downer.

The creation of a dedicated research hub represents a significant step for the company, which has already developed its own proprietary technologies. Its services range from clearing litter to clearing weeds from large property developments for the likes of Persimmon Homes and railway lines for Network Rail.

Downer said: “We have amassed a plethora of knowledge and understanding in invasive weeds over the years. It is a natural progression to move ever forwards in understand the physiology and structure of these plants in order to determine how best to eradicate or control their spread, bearing in mind our ever present ecological ethos.

“One area of particular importance for our research will be in defining when Japanese Knotweed can be categorised as 'dead', as the plant has the capability of laying dormant for decades.”

It has already developed the HIT - Holistic Integrated Treatment – system, a range of cultural and chemical control methods developed exclusively by tcm, designed to significantly increase the effectiveness of herbicidal treatments. The aim is to build on this.

Meanwhile Galway headquartered Blue Tree Systems specialises in fleet management software that can do everything from track vehicles to assess drivers' performances; biopharmaceutical start-up Serentis is in the process of raising funding; and Prime Meridian is a translation company specialising in Scandinavian languages.

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